I’ll Always Put My Hand Up for 3×3: Conti

Monique Conti has quite the schedule to juggle between sports and even between basketball formats, but the fact that 3×3 offers something so different is why she’ll continue to put her hand up, especially for tournaments like the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle Tour.

Conti might only be 19 years of age, but she’s living quite the full on life already juggling basketball and Australian football.

Right now she is finding a way to play in the WNBL with the Melbourne Boomers, is about to begin the NBL1 season with the Melbourne Tigers, has just completed an AFL Women’s season with the Western Bulldogs and is still involved with the VFL Women’s competition.

That might sound like there’s not much time for anything else, but Conti enjoyed herself so much with the Melbourne Boomers team at last year’s 3×3 NBL Pro Hustle Tour events that she’s keen to be involved again in 2019.

Alongside Madeleine Garrick, Chloe Molloy, Jasmine Simmons, Jaz Shelley, Ariel Thomas and Ezi Magbegor throughout the three events last year, Conti was part of teams that were runners-up in the first two Pro Hustles in Melbourne, before winning it all in Sydney in May.

On the back of that and coming off her WNBL and AFLW seasons while gearing up for the NBL1 campaign, Conti is committed to again playing in the Melbourne Boomers teams at the upcoming Pro Hustle Tour events.

That starts this Sunday in Melbourne where she’s already confirmed to be playing alongside Magbegor and Kalani Purcell.

Conti can’t wait to get on the 3×3 court again as part of the Pro Hustle and while it is all business out there, it does provide a bit of an escape from the more structured full games of basketball and football she’s been playing.

“We are going to have quite a strong team and I’m looking forward to getting back involved in that because of the physicality of it on the court. It’s a different game and a lot faster which makes it so much fun to play so I’m looking forward to these Pro Hustle events a lot,” Conti said.

“The Pro Hustle events are a lot of fun and it just gives you a different feel of the game. It just lets you go out and ball out which is a great feeling for everyone.

“Just the enjoyment of it – to play tough and intense basketball over a shorter period isn’t something you get to do all the time as well. When the opportunity comes to play 3×3 games, I’ll definitely always put my hand up to do that.”

Conti has set her goal in her career ultimately to be part of the Australian Opals but the added bonus of remaining involved in the 3×3 game is the fact that it also is going to provide more and more international opportunities, including the World Cup this year and at the Olympics in Tokyo 2020.

For Conti, the opportunities that could open up by playing in the 3×3 Pro Hustle events is an added bonus.

“You never know what can happen coming out of playing 3×3 and it’s always good to represent your country in either 5×5 or 3×3. It will be interesting to see how that plays out with myself down the road,” she said.

“It’s just fun out there playing 3×3 and knowing that it’s such a big sport globally as well. For Australia to have some exposure in that and to be getting involved in growing 3×3 here is really important as well.

“At the same time, you still take it seriously out there and you give it everything when you are playing it because you never know what it could lead to.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MAY 06: Monique Conti of Melbourne Boomers (C) in action during the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 2 event held at Docklands Studios on May 6, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

“The Pro Hustle events are a lot of fun and it just gives you a different feel of the game”

As for her remarkably busy sporting schedule, right now Conti just doesn’t know any different and while her body is still holding up to the rigours of it, and her mind is willing, she sees no reason why she shouldn’t keep doing everything that she enjoys being part of.

“I don’t really know what a break is and I just go from one sport to another. But it does keep me busy and I do enjoy all of it, which I think is the most important thing,” she said.

“The fact that I’m having fun and enjoying it is why I’m able to do one and then the other, and keep maintaining it. It is tough to juggle but mum keeps a diary for me so she knows when I’m playing and training which really helps me keep to my busy schedule.”

Longer term, Conti does expect to have to choose between sports at some stage and it’s likely that basketball will win out because of the opportunities it presents to play in Olympics and World Cups internationally that AFLW will never be able to provide.

“If it was up to me, I’d love to keep juggling as much as I can but I think at one stage I’ll have to choose especially if I want to play for the Opals,” Conti said.

“I might have to put footy on hold at some stage but then again you never know where you’ll be in a couple of years’ time and where I’ll be with my sport. I could go one way or the other, but I’m going to keep trying to juggle both even though my ultimate aim is to make it into an Opals team.”

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